There are some edible plants that just keep giving and giving. Garlic is one of them (and here are a bunch of others). Garlic can be consumed as shoots, scapes or bulbs. But right around now the farm markets and CSAs are showcasing Garlic Scapes. So here are nine recipes that use this ephemeral spring treat. You decide which one (or ones) are scape-worthy.
I made this one and it sort of turned out almost like a hummus. Super yummy. I ended up dipping pita wedges in it. If you eat it and your spouse doesn’t, be prepared for comments. In fact, that’s probably true for all of the following recipes (except maybe the Fritatta).
Pretty photo of these pickled garlic scapes. These are refrigerator pickles. And not only do you get to keep these treats around a little longer past their season, but the brine can be useful, too…
Turkey burgers are a mainstay for lots of people, but if you’ve ever tried to make them, they tend to turn out dry. And bland. That’s why it’s a great idea to mix it up with some scapes. And here’s a secret tip — mix in some of the brine from you garlic scape pickles. That will moisten those babies right up.
Garlic Scape Pesto is the classic recipe you find when you Google Garlic Scapes looking for recipes. Here’s one of the more popular ones. And here’s my tip: Instead of using it on pasta, make a pesto pizza. Use the pesto instead of the red sauce and then pile cheese on top. Super yummy.
Sometimes simple is best. Sauteed, roasted — a cooking method that showcases the ingredient. But here’s a Mother Earth News fail. This recipe calls for tomatoes. All the seasonal cooks know that you can’t get garlic scapes and in-season tomatoes at the same time! Still, you could pull out those cans you put up last summer. Just sayin’.
I haven’t made this one yet, but I think it’s next on my list. I’m sort of crazy about frittatas right now. They use up my leftover veggies. They are yummy. They can be breakfast, lunch or dinner. They keep well in the fridge. In fact, I think they are better the next day or the day after. Or I would… if they lasted that long.
OK, so I did make this one. To die for. So good. Wanted to eat it by the spoonful. But instead I’m sure to use it as a condiment, a dressing for artichokes, something way less sinful than the spoonful thing.
Here’s another one that is perfection in its simplicity. I think this might be lovely on the grill as well. Too bad there are thunderstorms here tonight.
Finally, from Mark Bittman’s blog is another way to keep the garlic scape goodness going long past the short short scape season.
OK, they aren’t the garlic scapes I grew. I’m still more of a cook than a gardener. But among the options in my CSA share this week was a bunch of garlic scapes (yes, those are the actual scapes from my CSA share pictured here). Garlic scapes are the stems shooting up and about to go to flower of the garlic bulb. Farmers cut them off in the spring to ensure the developing bulb has that deep garlic flavor. It used to be that they were discarded, but in recent years they’ve been embraced by the frugal foodies as a fleeting delicacy of spring.
Last year I ended up turning my precious CSA scapes into pesto. If you Google garlic scapes today, by far the most recipes you will find are for garlic scape pesto. So I made it and I’m not sure that I was in love with the garlic scapes like that. It was a super garlic-y pesto, not surprisingly. And it didn’t showcase the mildness of the scapes and the gorgeousness of their curled tendrils.
I’ve also seen a few recipes that pickle the scapes, but I’m not sure that I want to go that road with my scapes. Pickling my daikon radishes really mellowed them out, and I’m not wanting to do that with my scapes.
There’s this New York Times article from 2008 about a feast assembled by the author, all centered around the theme of that star ingredient, garlic scapes. Among the more intriguing dishes she made were a souffle and an aioli. No recipes provided in this NYT article, but plenty of inspiration.
Two other recipes are contenders for using my precious scapes.
1. This one is from the forums on chef Jamie Oliver’s site. Called Garlic Scape Pesto with Shrimp and Fresh Corn it brings together some of the notes of the classic dish shrimp scampi with its shrimp and garlic, but adds a lot of seasonal freshness with the scapes and fresh corn. This recipe also tones down the garlic-y bite of the pesto with the lemon thyme and lemon.
2. The other potential use of a pesto that looks inspired and fabulous is this Garlic Scape Pesto and Mushroom Pizza. I’ve always been a fan of pesto pizza, and this one marries together earthy mushrooms with the extra garlic-y garlic scape pesto. While not really on my diet plan, this looks like it might be worth it.